Posted On: Friday - June 4th 2021 8:36AM MST
In Topics:   Healthcare Stupidity  Socialism/Communism
I could tell this was going to be a multi-part post right away. Too many thoughts were already in my head about the subject to make this concise. I'll start here with my motivation for writing this, and then an important point of clarification on the BUSINESS of healthcare vs. the SCIENCE of healthcare. We'll have to get to the ranting on the stupidity of this long-on-going transition from freedom to constraint in this, yet another important area of of lives, in subsequent posts.
It's the younger people who seem to be in the mindset that, yes, America's healthcare system sucks, and, yes, the US Feral Gov't better take full control so it'll be all better. I'm trying to remember an instance of the US Feral Gov't taking control and making something all better before ... Civil Rites? Nah, that's not a good one, wait ... the passenger railroads? No, oh, but that reminds me, the FAA and the airlines? Well, not that bad a use of government to create safety rules, but then the Feds don't economically
Oh, yeah, this is not the rant part. These former Bernie Bros. or whatever they are now and plenty of people of the alt-right and all over the political spectrum otherwise bring up, "at least we need to fix healthcare. Make it free, FREE, I tells ya', or single payer." I'm not sure if they even know what that means, but as long as this single payer is not THEM, it's great. "Single payer" is nothing but a euphemism for "government run".
I believe the young people can not imagine any other way. They see a broken economic mess in the business end of healthcare. I do too. They don't know the history of how this business got to the wretched state it's in. I do. They don't see any way out that doesn't involve, not just the Feral Gov't, but MORE Feral Gov't. I'll get back to all this.
When one gets into discussions about the "old way" and the mess now, and what could be, he will hear "people would just die of cancer because there was no colonoscopy", "you would have died already of a heart attack if this were 1965", and "they had to cut you open in the operating room to do this, when now it can be done through a small hole in the ... whatever." Oh, sure, that's all true. The science, engineering, technology, and just overall body of knowledge and toolkit of procedures has grown immensely over the last half a century.
This 1/2 century happens to overlap the same time period in which the field of healthcare has gone from operation in a reasonable facsimile of a free market to a morass of governments-of-all-kinds, Big Biz, and lawyers. A friend's group of doctor's offices with 50 employees had 11 of them working on nothing but the collections end - dealing with patients, insurance companies, and these governments. That's over 20% of the employees doing non-productive work, healthcare-wise. They have to get paid too.
In a discussion of the changes in healthcare in America, the changes in the SCIENCE must be separated out from the changes in the BUSINESS. Oh, but then the Socialists will tell you that "see, it's the Government, with the research funding, blah, blah..." As much as I see all the politics in the doling out of science funding just as much as any other, I'd say that this is better than our money being doled out to support the warfare state, the welfare state, and all the rest. However, that's not the history of how the amazing developments in the science of medicine happen.
Ideas happen to people, not governments. Bright doctors figure out new procedures. Doctors know they could to this new thing or that, were special tools or pieces of equipment existing to do this or that part, but that's impossible. Then, engineers look into these impossibilities and figure out some really cool things, maybe in partnership with said doctors, that make these new methods now possible. The biomedical device field has been filled with small businesses, at least in the past. No doubt many of the inventions would not have been possible without newly created materials also.
I don't personally think government help has been necessary to improve the field of medicine scientifically. If anything, I'd say government involvement has been the usual hindrance. Government or not, the great changes in medical diagnostics and procedures have helped Americans avoid dying earlier from the big killers. They have saved people who would have died in the hospital from car wrecks in the old days, or helped them to more fully recover. They have saved children's lives. There's no argument on whether the science of medicine having changed is a good thing. That's not where the problems lie. Is the point of any arguing on the science just to confuse the issue?
We'll get to the business end of things, where the problems lie, in Part 2. It's time for something more light-hearted for the next post though.